Interview With TYRONE MARSHALL BROWN | Love Is
Love Is__ “Constantly evolving. At it’s purest form, Love Is_ Self Discovery…,” says the talented actor embodying Sean in OWN’s new original series “Love Is__.”
Have you ever asked yourself what “Love Is?” If love is continuously evolving into something bigger, parallel to the expansion of our vast Universe, then love is the essence of all there is. In that case, love lives unexceptionally within all of us, always and forever. When we remember that, we have the opportunity to tap into the Source of purest state of appreciation and emanate the energy of unconditional love towards ourselves and others.
• Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Tyrone Marshall Brown?
I’m a young actor/budding writer living in the Concrete Jungle we call New York City currently starring as Sean in the new show “Love Is_” on OWN.
• In high school, you were a star athlete, and yet you decided to focus mainly on a career in the performing arts. Do you remember the moment you were clear that was the right decision?
The major “ahaaa” moment for me happened about 13 years ago while I was still living back home in Pennsylvania commuting to New York for auditions. My commute consisted of a 4 hour Susquehanna Trailways bus ride, a 5-minute audition in Manhattan, and a 4-hour bus ride right back to my hometown Berwick, Pa. All in the same day… About 6 months into this year-long trek, I received a call to audition for my first McDonalds national commercial. I only had enough money to pay for a one-way bus ticket to New York that week, so at the age of 19, I made my riskiest executive decision to date. I bought my first ever one-way ticket to New York City, But under one condition, I wasn’t allowed to even think about how I was going to get myself back to Pa until after I left the casting office. My mentality was as long as the casting director sees me “do my thang,” the rest will take care of itself. About fifteen minutes into the 4-hour bus ride I began to doze off, as per usual, and a late 60’s early 70-year-old lady sitting across the aisle from me started mumbling something. I glanced in her direction because I couldn’t quite tell if she was talking to me or someone else, but she was alone and staring directly at me. We chatted for a second about the weather then I proceeded to continue my nap. About five minutes later she began mumbling again, and it became very clear that I was not going to be getting a wink of sleep the entire bus ride. So I surrendered to that realization and opened myself up for what turned out to be a very beautiful conversation. By the time we pulled into Port Authority you could have sworn we’d know each other for years. I pulled her suitcase all the way through the Port Authority and to the corner of 42nd and 8th ave where we said our goodbyes. Before we walked away from each other, she reached into her purse and pulls out some money rolled up in her hand. I instantly decline her kind gesture despite my financial situation, but she wouldn’t walk away until I took the money. So I hesitantly put the money in my pocket, thanked her, and we went our separate ways. To sum it all up, after 4 hours of conversation with this lady talking about everything besides money and me possibly being stranded in NYC in a few hours, she had given me just enough money to repurchase a bus ticket home and a bite to eat. From that point on, I’ve never looked back.
• Do you feel being an athlete prepared you for a career as an entertainer?
Yes and no. There are definitely a lot of similarities in the methodology behind sports and let’s say acting. Preparing in such a way so that your actions become muscle memory but still leaving room for spontaneous inspiration is a high priority. So years of playing sports definitely gave me an edge work ethic wise. But I was never given the outcome of a football game I was about the play or which play was coming next and told to act as if that information was never stated.
• Do you think the entertainment industry is expanding into more diverse, inclusive and creative content? If so, why and how?
Yes, absolutely. The platforms for creative expression are so vast now and becoming more and more accessible. We live in a time where I can get a few friends together in my living room, write 5-6 episodes for a miniseries, shoot them with rented equipment, post them to Youtube on a Friday and possibly receive an email from someone at HBO the following Monday. Not common, but no longer impossible. With that being said, everyone has the means/ability to tell a story and get it out there in some way shape or form. And we are seeing more examples of artists testing that theory with good, truthful, honest, unique stories moving to the forefront of conversations despite the race, gender identification, sexual orientation of those involved. Talent is undeniable and it seems we are turning over a new leaf.
• You are currently starring as Sean in OWN’s new original series “Love Is__.” Could you elaborate on your character and discuss why you were initially interested in this project?
When we meet Sean he is a 33ish-year-old African American father trying to get his piece of the pie in the late 1990’s by any means necessary. Although not as intelligent as his best friend Yasir, Sean relies on his instincts and seasoned street smarts to hopefully provide a better and brighter future for him and his daughter, regardless of how things unfold with him and his daughter’s mother. Which is really what drew me to this project. I get to help play a part in rewriting the false narrative that “most black fathers aren’t involved in their kid’s lives.” And that’s just simply not true.
• What do you hope viewers can take away from watching the series?
Nothing more and nothing less than a better sense of self. I often feel that due to the constant distractions that surround us, self-awareness has become a fleeting idea. Which is one of the attributes I LOVE about this show. It holds that mirror up. You can’t help but walk away questioning your position in your life and want to start making changes for the better instantly.
• Oprah Winfrey is an executive producer of the series. What has been your experience working with her on this project?
June 11, 2018, was the day Love Is_ had it’s cast and crew premiere in Los Angeles and yes…the day I finally got to meet Oprah. I can honestly say I had no expectations leading up to meet arguably the most influential person in our planet’s history, but I absolutely wasn’t expecting to witness what took place that evening. There were a few pictures of Oprah and I on the “Red carpet” (ours was pink), and yes I was a recipient of the famously known “Oprah hug”… But watching her work the rooftop where the reception was held was nothing short of magic. Oprah walked around that reception for two full hours taking pictures, chatting with people, cracking jokes and just when you thought, “ Yeah, she’s probably had enough. I’m sure she’s going to leave any minute now”, she grabs the next person in for a hug and a picture. Oprah was absolutely selfless about sharing her light! And in those few hours, it became apparent to me why Oprah is who she is. She has an endlessly empathetic soul that she chooses to do good with. That was the only personal experience I’ve had with Oprah thus far and one I shall keep with me forever.
• And for you, Love Is__?
Constantly evolving. At it’s purest form, Love Is_ Self Discovery…
- When you want to reconnect with yourself, what do you typically like to do?
Simple things. Meditate, play pool with strangers, have coffee with friends, nature trips… Anything outside of the industry and its rejection, expectations, even it’s successes at times. It’s refreshing to step away from all of this here and there because it’s not the end all be all. It’s important, the art of it is important, the rest of it is a necessity.
- Are you involved with any charities or do humanitarian work that you would like to mention/discuss?
Not at the moment. But I am at a place in my life where I feel I can actually be of service to others and help make an impact in other’s lives. There was a lot of personal growth that needed to happen that I feel was holding me back, but I am there, and now it’s time to take action.
• The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is “The Essence of a Joyful Living.” How do you implement joy into your everyday life and career?
Laughter has always been my go-to medicine. I’m naturally drawn to dramatic material/intense characters professionally, but I have a pretty wicked sometimes silly sense of humor in my private life. Impersonations, obscene facial expressions… you name it, are all in my box of tricks to help put a smile on someone else’s face. Bringing happiness to others is what brings me the most joy. You never know what someone else is going through and being able to help shine a light in another person’s life is one of the best feelings. Have it be friends, family or even strangers.
• When you hear “You can be, do and have anything you want,” what is your take on such a statement?
I believe it to be true. My friend Jason recently sent me a podcast called “How to Become Batman.” The topic was about how a person’s expectations can alter someone’s or something’s performance. The main example used was society’s expectations of the capabilities of blind people. Generally speaking, most people believe that if a person is one hundred percent blind, they cannot see. Therefore are extremely limited in what they can physically do in the world they live in. Well, they introduce a man by the name of Daniel Kish, who had to have his eyes removed before he was 13 months old due to cancer, and the plot thickened. Daniel has made it his life’s mission to prove those negative thoughts wrong by riding bikes, climbing up and down 60-foot trees and plenty other actives with no assistance but his mouth and ears. He’s mastered a technique called human echolocation. Which is the ability of humans to detect objects in their environment by sensing echoes from those objects, by actively creating sounds, in his case by making a clicking noise with his mouth. He now travels the world teaching blind children and adults this technique shattering the preconceived boundaries assigned to blind people.
Yeah, you can do or be anything you want.
Photography by Nina Duncan